PASADENA, Calif. -- Southern California made a strong case of its own to be No. 1. JoePa agreed, even before Penn State got beaten by the Trojans in the Rose Bowl.
Mark Sanchez passed for 413 yards and four touchdowns, USC dominated on defense and the fifth-ranked Trojans defeated the No. 6 Nittany Lions 38-24 Thursday. Penn State coach Joe Paterno watched from the press box, where he's been for most of the season following hip replacement surgery.
He couldn't have liked what he saw - at one point in the first half, the TV camera caught him shaking his head as USC (12-1) rolled to a 31-7 lead. Out of the BCS championship mix, the Trojans (12-1) could only wonder what might have been had they not lost at Oregon State 27-21 on Sept. 25.